Switching on main

Switching on at work

Three employees in a meeting room discussing a document

Effective safety will always rely upon an employer having robust safety procedures. No matter how well an employer manages safety, there is always a reliance on individual decisions to stay safe at work. This is even more important at Hays because we do not directly supervise you during a temporary assignment. At Hays we know injuries have occurred because of poor decision making and distraction.

Some examples include:

Rushing - You may be keen to make a good impression. Getting injured on the first day / week of a job or making a mistake that needs to be fixed does not make a good impression.

Distractions - You may have performed the same task for many years and think you know all there is to know about a job, but non work related problems affects our decision making. Lack of sleep, family, finances and job security are all common distractions that take our mind off the task at hand.

Auto pilot - Many tasks we complete each day are performed on auto pilot. The ability to make many decisions and perform multiple tasks at once allows us to perform efficiently. But this behaviour can be dangerous when working in safety critical roles. A combination of auto pilot and being distracted can increase your risk of injury in a new or unfamiliar workplace and especially in a safety critical role.

What can you do

Consider where your head is at before you commence work and identify if you are likely to display any of the behaviours above. An ‘internal’ take 5 before you start work will determine if you can run on autopilot or need to switch on.

You can do this by considering:

  • What is happening outside of work?
    Are you likely to rush or be distracted and either miss something, or not notice a change in conditions, that increases the risk of harm
  • The hazards that exist.
    Is this a safety critical task that requires your complete attention, or is it a non safety critical role that you can complete on autopilot

Autopilot for non critical roles can be ok provided you are in the right headspace and can recognise changes to a situation and can act in order to avoid injury. However autopilot and/or poor decision making when performing a safety critical role will and has led to serious injury.

If you are performing safety critical work it is important to arrive at work mentally prepared. This may mean resolving those distractions you can manage before you get to work. Where you cannot resolve distractions beforehand make sure you take your time throughout the day and give yourself time to respond when you need to act.

How to report a Health & Safety issue or concern  

Do not think because you may be new on site that you should not report a hazard.
To report any health & safety concern or hazard please contact the Hays Health and Safety team by calling:

Freecall Australia1800 786 057
Freecall New Zealand0800 562 669 (select option 4)

Alternatively, if you prefer you can also report this by speaking to your Hays consultant. Hays will always work to ensure that your safety comes first and so and will take the necessary steps required to safeguard this. All calls are confidential, your identity will not be divulged without your specific prior consent.

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